"Simply fabulous installment in the Whiskey Creek series"
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted March 31, 2015
Once again Brenda Novak treats her readers to an
astonishingly honest reflection on learning to trust your
heart. THIS HEART OF MINE has moments that are just plain
heartbreaking. In the Whiskey Creek series of
have been treated to some of the most wondrous tales
involving characters that remain in your head and heart
long after you've turned the last page. Ask any fan of
Brenda Novak and I'm sure they have a favorite or two.
THIS HEART OF MINE is absolutely destined to become one
of the top contenders. I have said it before and will
repeat once again -- I want more Whiskey Creek.
Brenda Novak had already given us a rather cursory
introduction to Riley Stinson and his son Jacob. In
previous books in the Whiskey Creek series we
that Jacob's mother had been out of the picture for his
entire life. But now as a seventeen year old young man
his mother Phoenix Fuller has suddenly resurfaced much to
the dismay of the entire population in this small town.
Phoenix has just been released from her prison term of
seventeen years for murder.
If we are to believe Phoenix she was unjustly found
guilty -- which of course sounds so much like any convict.
But the situation that Phoenix found herself so many
years ago left very little chance for any other outcome.
Phoenix had been fighting an upstream battle her entire
life. Her short relationship with Riley had brought her
great joy, love, friendship and the greatest heartbreak.
The real issue behind everything that had transpired was
Phoenix lack of social status, education, stable family
and home life. In short she was a nobody -- a convenient
throwaway -- a social castoff.
Riley came from a respected family in the community with
a bright future. His short dalliance with Phoenix
certainly changed the course of his life as well. But he
had a strong network of support. What he lacked was the
age of wisdom and confidence to fight back. It was just
easier to listen to those that felt that they knew what
was best. So at eighteen Riley made a break with the girl
from the wrong side of the tracks so to speak.
THIS HEART OF MINE reenters the story of Phoenix, Riley
and Jacob with her release from prison. But Phoenix was
still in her own prison. Life was scary and
unpredictable. Phoenix had no choice but to question
every ones motives. Trust and love was absent. She was on
her own facing an unfriendly town. The one bright spot in
her life was the possibility of getting to know her son
Jacob. She wanted so little but her challenges were so
THIS HEART OF MINE by Brenda Novak reminds us just how
powerful love can be. The love of a parent for a child is
at the center of so many conflicts in this genuinely
heartbreaking tale. Without trust relationships do not
stand a chance. Trust has to be earned. Love has to be
accepted. Life goes on. THIS HEART OF MINE will make you
think, feel and at times question your first impressions.
Simply as perfect as Brenda Novak's writing. If I had to
summarized my feelings about THIS HEART OF MINE in one
word -- that word would be fabulous.
First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough
childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson
became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as
though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was
desperate not to lose himâ€”especially once she found out
was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive
he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he
started dating next.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence.
after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been
All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to
know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's
life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And
wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's
about to find both!
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